Why wouldn’t you take advantage of grocery delivery? NYC’s overcrowded and hectic supermarkets during rush hour can easily bring out the antisocial introvert in you. On the list of things that put New Yorkers on edge, grocery shopping is on par with being anywhere near Times Square. But of course, you can’t live on Seamless forever—that's why we reviewed the best grocery stores’ services currently serving the city. Some are free, some arrive in less than an hour, some have late-night delivery, and all will help reduce your daily stress level.
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Best ways to get your groceries delivered
A major blow against the original Amazon Fresh rollout was its ridiculous annual fee of $299. Because, duh. But now that it’s a monthly $14.99 tacked onto the cost of Prime membership, it’s become a more reasonable candidate. Amazon’s competitive advantage is its enormous inventory that is not limited to just food. This is either great or bad, depending on your personal shopping habits. You can buy your eggs, milk, fruit, health food store goods, the next book on your reading list, sponges, makeup sponges and a new phone case, and then continue on with your late-night binge-shopping. Also working in its favor is Amazon’s comparatively advanced system for monitoring said massive inventory, so you’ll know if something is in stock or not—no last-minute surprises.
Fresh Direct has more or less become a household name in New York City over the almost 15 years it’s been around. Compared to the other delivery services, Fresh Direct is not for the more frugal shoppers. However, its prices do compete with brick-and-mortar NYC grocery stores, and its in-house bakery and partnerships with local farms mean that its offerings often win points for freshness. Membership is $69 for six months, which includes unlimited deliveries; otherwise most deliveries are $5.99 for a minimum order of $30.
Unlike the Fresh Direct or Amazon models, rather than deliver from a massive private inventory, Instacart sends out personal shoppers to fetch your items. This is a big plus for all the people who can’t live without specific brands. And if something is out of stock, you get an actual human suggesting substitutions. However, many stores already have marked up prices, and you’re meant to tip your shopper, too. But they try make up for the higher prices by directing you to any sales as they can. Hey, if you’re a Whole Foods addict, the extra money for delivery is probably worth it if it means no more of those long, shuffling lines.
For anyone who has been trying to fill the Costco-size void left in their life ever since moving to the city, Google Express is here for you. You can order in bulk from stores in your area, including, yes, Costco, along with Fairway, Target, PetSmart, Staples,and even the Chinese supermarket chain 99 Ranch Market. Same-day and overnight delivery are free for a minimum purchase of only $15. Unfortunately, it does not offer perishables like milk, eggs, fresh fruit and vegetables, but if you’re trying to stockpile dry goods, pet food and a year’s worth of toilet paper, look no further.
Foodkick is Fresh Direct’s new mobile app-based extension and is specifically catered to fill in the gaps left by other grocery delivery services. It includes most of the grocery options you’ll find with Fresh Direct, plus additions like suggested wine pairings, pre-made meals, made-to-order sushi, CSA boxes and cocktail kits. Its app is super easy to use, and did we mention the delivery can arrive within the hour for just a $2 difference? Otherwise delivery costs $3.99 with a $20 minimum.
Founded in 1989, Peapod is the OG NYC grocery delivery service. It’s owned by the grocery store family of Stop & Shop and is basically the Stop & Shop experience moved online. The delivery fee gets cheaper the larger your order ($6.95 for orders over $100), so it’s better to buy in big batches. Overall, Peapod wins for reliability and a thoughtful user experience. For instance, it keeps track of your purchases so you can easily keep buying the same items regularly. Also, when you click on an item the nutrition information pops up, and you can save a couple of bucks if you choose a big delivery window.
Jet is the projected winner for the thrifty New Yorker. Like Amazon, it has its own grocery warehouses from which it makes deliveries instead of using local supermarkets and stores. Unlike Amazon, there’s no equivalent of a pricey membership, just a delivery fee which disappears for orders over $35. But what’s cool about Jet for grocery (and non-grocery) shopping is its dedication to saving you money, which it goes about in an almost gamified way. If you buy certain products together, they cost less. If you opt to waive the free return, you get a discount. If you use a debit card instead of a credit card, ding ding ding, discount!
Max Delivery is possibly your best option when you need to prep dinner the night of a big dinner party and you just realized your kitchen is empty. That’s because it offers one-hour delivery with the delivery fee refunded if it doesn’t make it to your doorstep within the hour. Max’s prices compete with NYC supermarkets, and though it doesn’t have the largest selection on this list, you can still find some very appealing goodies in its Best of NY section from places like Murray’s Cheese and Balthazar Bakery. Plus, there’s no delivery fee for orders over $100, which is totally doable.